Press release from the official Marathon des Sables website:
29/03/2008 – Administrative and technical checks
Conditions at 1.30pm :36,7 °C, 17% hygrometry
The caravan of the 23rd Marathon des Sables set camp at the foot of the most impressive Merzouga dunes: a grand setting for a most challenging race. On the menu this week: 245 kilometres of sand, rocks, dream, wind, sweat and… food self sufficiency. But before the fun can start, some essential formalities must be complied with: safety material and medical checks, together with the handing out of distress flares and numbered breast plates. This year’s novelty: runners are equipped with an electronic device that will automatically register their going through check points and their timing. This edition promises to be a tough one: not only is it the longest ever but it also kicks off with Morocco’s highest dunes – a 31,6 kilometres long first heat that could do much damage. Not enough to demoralize our competitors, only too happy to be facing the enemy at last. Old hands mix with newcomers who get to discover the special atmosphere of the caravan, bringing together 32 nationalities and people coming from all walks of life, from policeman to baker, and psychiatrist to former football coach. Let the party begin!